By adaptive - May 9th, 2012

[K]LM Royal Dutch Airlines was founded on 7 October, 1919 to serve the Netherlands and its colonies. KLM is today the oldest airline still operating under its original name. KLM has been part of th...

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was founded on 7 October, 1919 to serve the Netherlands and its colonies. KLM is today the oldest airline still operating under its original name. KLM has been part of the AIR FRANCE KLM  group since the merger in 2004.

KLM is the core of the KLM Group, which further includes the wholly-owned subsidiaries KLM Cityhopper, and Martinair.

Catharine van Dijk is Manager Reputation & Content for Social Media at KLM Royal Dutch AirlinesCatharine van Dijk is Manager Reputation and Content for Social Media at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Together with a social media team she aims to capture fans and win their loyalty. Since the introduction of Social Media within KLM in 2009 the amount of fans and followers has grown rapidly. The key to this success is to interact genuinely, having a real interest in the needs of fans and followers en solving problem adequately en swiftly, and, of course, running great social media campaigns. Social media make KLM’s reputation messages feasible for fans.

As a corporate user of social networks, how does your company value the networks it has a presence on?

KLM is mainly present on  Facebook and Twitter, where we engage with our followers with inspiring content, campaigns and where we offer 24/7 servicing in English, Dutch and Spanish. The social media platforms are valuable communication channels, which we treat as mature channels and are becoming more and more part of KLM’s communications strategy.

Are the social networks now offering corporations tangible commercial opportunities to sell their goods or services?

Some social networks might give the opportunity to do so. KLM refrains from hard selling via our central social media platform. We do try to integrate social tools into our existing ‘sales’ procedures (e.g. Meet & Seat).

KLM LogoWhat does KLM see as the key challenge across the social media environment with brand awareness and advocacy?

Around 2010 was the year of launching our social media efforts and experimenting. 2011 was the year of growing, learning and putting the structure in place. 2012 is the year of turning this growth and these learnings into business, knowing that exceeded expectations in the past are now the new standard and we aim to maintain our leading position in the social media landscape.

What was the strategy behind your KLM Surprise initiative, and how was social media a vital part of that campaign?

Schiphol as location for little acts of kindness for our passengers. Passenger uses KLM/#KLM/@KLM in tweet, and let us know that he or she is traveling with KLM. KLM finds out background info via profile of passenger, how we can surprise him (hobbies, interests) and where we can find him (gate number). KLM buys little present and surprises passenger. Little presents, nothing big, but very personal. Impact on passengers was huge. Lots of exposure and buzz.

How does KLM decide what it spends on which social media networks? Does KLM have a social media roadmap it is working to?

Yes, KLM has a roadmap for 2012, because social media will be one of the most important ways of interacting with our (potential) customers. Right now we are working on our channel strategy: which channels will be most important and where will we put in our energy.

Meet & Seat uses social networking to allow passengers to sit next to people with similar social profiles. Can you explain where this idea came from and how successful it has been?

The idea for Meet & Seat was born after a co-creation process. Social is top of mind within KLM and Meet & Seat is being integrated in KLM’s booking process as a first social tool. It fits into KLM’s promise of ‘an inspirational journey’ by traveling with KLM.

Numbers: Up till now you can meet & seat at 34 destinations from and to Amsterdam. And more than 700 passengers have shared their profile. We’ll keep on expanding. Lot of passengers like the idea, but it’s so new, it takes time to get used to the new idea.

What’s next for KLM in the social media space? Can you outline any new initiatives you are working on?

We are learning all the time and we intend to continue in 2012. Social media provide us with extra communication channels, integrated in our overall communication strategy.

To find out more about how large companies use social media for better crisis response and reputation management, check out our flagship conference, The Corporate Social Media Summit. Featuring over 30 senior marketing and social media executives from companies like Dell, Citi, Mercedes, KLM, McDonald’s and many more, this is the learning and networking opportunity of 2012 for those working in social media for big brands. Find out more

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